I’ll be speaking today on my recent research into media, materiality and the coal industry as part of the UMass HFA “Five at Four” series. My talk will focus on my work to renarrativize silent cinema to reveal narratives of off-screen labor of coal miners, colorists, chemists and others who labored at the intersection of the coal and film industries.
Notes Towards an Infinite Film, an online screening series of video, film and digital media curated for Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center’s Virtual Video Viewing Room, continues with Program II: Signal, Skin, Pixel, Camera. The program will be online from June 22 through July 31.
Notes Towards an Infinite Film” is a series of online screenings that surveys four decades of film, video and new media work created by Buffalo’s extended community of media artists. The experimental works that comprise Signal, Skin, Pixel, Camera interrogate the material properties of film, video and digital moving images. The skin, or the emulsion, of film is reconsidered as cinematic image through hand-processing and chemical alteration. Software tools glitch and pixelate the digital image revealing its display elements. Image processing instruments foreground video’s noisy electronic signal. Rich, lush color is culled from the electronic eye of the camera. The resulting works offer viewers a richly sensual and haptic visual experience and entry into a unique conversation across decades of Buffalo film and video history.
Notes Towards an Infinite Film, an online screening series of video, film and digital media curated for Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center’s Virtual Video Viewing Room, launches on Monday, May 25 with “Program One: The Promise of Props.”
“Notes Towards an Infinite Film” is a series of online screenings that surveys four decades of film, video and new media work created by Buffalo New York’s extended community of media artists. Channeling the spirit of Hallwalls’ physical video viewing rooms of yore, each program will be online and viewable for two weeks before being archived. Visitors are invited to spend time with individual videos and films, following the program Laura has curated or self-curating their own version. The films and videos presented as part of The Promise of Props engage a quintessential and identifiable Buffalo media genre – the experimental narrative. Playfully transforming narrative through the use of props and costume, these works demonstrate how experiments in film and video can extend beyond cinematic form and structure to the storytelling process itself. Fisher Price toys and plastic cowboy figurines, photographs and Hostess snack cakes, accordions and playing cards, all become performative tools through which the artists create visual fables that are, in turn, whimsical and droll, farcical and poignant: a lonely spaceman finds himself lost and confused amidst the violent culture of gun-toting cowboys; a young woman searches for identity across a landscape of magazine covers; an array of dolls enact a story of class consciousness and envy; individually packaged cupcakes express gender politics; eggs and potatoes convey mystical qualities. Exploring issues ranging from gender construction and the environmental impact of tourism to memory, ritual and tradition, the films and videos that comprise this program demonstrate that the promise of props lies in their capacity to imaginatively convey a host of real-life concerns.
Featuring work by Emily Anderson and Jen Morris, Don Bernier, Dorothea Braemer and David Kluft, Ruth Goldman, Cheryl Jackson, Carl Lee, Lara Odell and Anya Lewin, John Saxe, and Kelly Spivey.
In May of 2020, I will be in residence at Project: Soils @ Swale House on Governor’s Island/NYC where I will continue my research on “soil cinema” and the materialist aesthetics of mud, dirt, earth and dust in contemporary experimental film and video. As part of this research, I will be burying exposed film stock and exploring the process of frame-by-frame decay of the image via soil’s living biomass.
“We were called Arnait Ikajurtigiit – which translates to ‘women helping each other.’ Arnait was very loose, there was no need to be a member, whoever came was part of the group.”
“There was a fragility to the workshop. Everyone was so busy with their lives, their children and their life condition, and we didn’t have an office or much equipment, so to do this work was very delicate. It was strong, but delicate at the same time. It was something that we needed to really pay attention to because if we stopped, it would be nothing. People would still live and tell stories but it wouldn’t be on video. To make it work, it needed a lot of attention.”
– Marie-Hélène Cousineau on Arnait Video Productions
Phosphortron, a video instrument that simulates the phosphor trails found in analog cathode ray tube (CRT) oscilloscopes and television monitors, co-created with Eric Souther is now available for free download at: https://github.com/EricSouther/Phosphortron
Phosphortron uses a computer vision technique called frame difference, which compares the current frame versus the previous frame and analyzes change based on a threshold pixel by pixel. The trail duration function controls how long previous information stays on screen before fading away the simulated phosphors. Edge detection is utilized in conjunction with frame difference, to isolate and accentuate the outlines to loosen the raster image towards the simulated aesthetics of vector drawing.
screen capture – simulated phosphor trails using Phosphortron app
I’ll be a researcher-in-residence at Signal Culture during March 2019, where I’ll be continuing my research on a media art history of phosphor. The system at Signal Culture is home to a number a number of unique video tools and synthesizers including a Hearn, Wobbulator and a one-of-a-kind Jones Raster Manipulator. I’ll also be investigating the temporality of phosphor persistence using Phosphortron, an app co-created with Eric Souther, which simulates phosphor trails in real-time.